Comparative Literature | Intro to African Literatures
C261 | 16549 | Prof. Eileen Julien


MW 4:00-6:30
fulfills A&H and CS requirements
*meets 1st 8 weeks only*


This course will introduce you to foundational and contemporary
African literary texts.  We will consider proverbs and the performance
of narratives, generally termed “oral literature,” from different
regions of the continent and read recent examples of the novel,
poetry, autobiography, drama, and cinema, such as Amos Tutuola’s The
Palm Wine Drinkard,  Bessie Head’s Maru, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s
Half of a Yellow Sun, Boubacar Boris Diop’s Murambi: The Book of
Bones, Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Matigari,  Abdellatif Laâbi’s Rue du retour,
Salem Mekuria’s Deluge, Athol Fugard et al’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead, Ama
Ata Aidoo’s Anowa, Joseph Gaï Ramaka’s Karmen Geï.

From magical love story to feminist rebellion, from fantastic tales to
detective story, we will pay attention both to the formal qualities of
these works and the broad historical conditions affecting African
literatures and cultures, including the continent’s experience with
European languages.  We will focus on issues such as pre-colonial
social and political relations, colonialism and decolonization,
anti-apartheid politics, gender imbalances, and disenchantment with
the postcolonial state.  There will also be a few critical writings
and manifestoes about African politics and culture, especially from
the crucial period of decolonization in the 1950s and its aftermath in
the late 1970s. Some of these will be used to frame the course, and
others as critical introductions to each thematic or regional issue
developed in specific texts.

Please contact Professor Julien  for additional information.